The GFDL Global Ocean and Sea Ice Model OM4.0: Model Description and Simulation Features

Publication Year


Journal Article

We document the configuration and emergent simulation features from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) OM4.0 ocean/sea‐ice model. OM4 serves as the ocean/sea‐ice component for the GFDL climate and Earth system models. It is also used for climate science research and is contributing to the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project version 6 Ocean Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6/OMIP). The ocean component of OM4 uses version 6 of the Modular Ocean Model (MOM6) and the sea‐ice component uses version 2 of the Sea Ice Simulator (SIS2), which have identical horizontal grid layouts (Arakawa C‐grid). We follow the Coordinated Ocean‐sea ice Reference Experiments (CORE) protocol to assess simulation quality across a broad suite of climate relevant features. We present results from two versions differing by horizontal grid spacing and physical parameterizations: OM4p5 has nominal 0.5° spacing and includes mesoscale eddy parameterizations and OM4p25 has nominal 0.25° spacing with no mesoscale eddy parameterization. MOM6 makes use of a vertical Lagrangian‐remap algorithm that enables general vertical coordinates. We show that use of a hybrid depth‐isopycnal coordinate reduces the mid‐depth ocean warming drift commonly found in pure z* vertical coordinate ocean models. To test the need for the mesoscale eddy parameterization used in OM4p5, we examine the results from a simulation that removes the eddy parameterization. The water mass structure and model drift are physically degraded relative to OM4p5, thus supporting the key role for a mesoscale closure at this resolution.

Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems
Date Published
October 2019
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